Of Offers, Reviews and the Problem with Sequels

“I’ve been here before.

“You may remember me from the past if such a concept can and does exist here in Endworld. Past, present and future? All are meaningless in a place where we humans live from sunrise to sunset. Time, as I have mentioned incessantly, has no significance here. It never has…

“And it never will.”

Excerpt from the Prologue to CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD, “Full Circle”

So begins (with a couple of sentences omitted so as to not give anything away to those of you that haven’t finished ENDWORLD – A Novel yet) the sequel to what one person called my “Freshman novel debut.” The book is entitled CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and it is 34 pages to the good, presently. Admittedly? I’m very happy with what I’ve written so far, but 34 pages is nothing. I’ve still got a long way to go. As I’ve said before, perhaps as incessantly as William MacNuff refers to time or the absence thereof in Endworld, what I think of it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you, my readers think of it. And the finished product is still a ways off. Not too long, though. Something tells me that when I 100% commit to writing it it’ll consume my mind, body and soul like it’s predecessor did. It’s tough to say when it’ll be done and be available, but optimally? I’d love to have it done and out by this time, next year. I like May. May’s a good month for book releases. So tentatively? May, 2014. That’s my goal. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, the best I can definitively offer you is a blog entry here/over on Random Musings, or an update like this one. I’ve been toying with putting a completion graph up on the “About THE ENDWORLD SERIES” tab but have decided not to. You don’t need to see that (though I ate up Brandon Sanderson’s while he was working on The Wheel of Time Series). I’m sure I’ll write about it plenty between now and then. Besides, trying to put a percentage on “doneness” when it comes to writing a novel is, I have discovered, no easy task. Even if I use the first book’s page count and my treatment as a baseline. I guesstimate that by the time I’m done, CHILDREN will be as long as, if not longer than ENDWORLD was. Is. Sometimes, Tense really messes with me.

I’m quickly discovering that the problem with a sequel–even one that I originally wrote X-amount of years ago and am now rewriting–isn’t getting back into the minds of my characters. If you love your characters like I love mine, continuing their story is not a problem. If anything, it’s intoxicating. It’s not the writing process, either: I can already see a “Sophomore” maturity in CHILDREN that ENDWORLD doesn’t have.  The problem with writing a direct sequel (not a three-quel, a four-quel, et el) so soon after you published the first book is this: THE ENDWORLD SERIES is not an established commodity, yet. I still have no bleepin’ idea what people think of it.

That’s not an implication of anyone. It’s a long book, and it’s only been out for a few weeks. I know how difficult it is nowadays to sit down and commit to just reading. Unless I’m on a vacation somewhere the majority of my reading is done post-10 PM at night and pre-passing out between 11 and 11:30 PM, a fact that my wife is graciously accepting of. Or so she tells me. I know reviews are forthcoming (for better or for worse, though most people that I’ve talked to really appear to be enjoying it) and I know that the book has sold modestly and to my initial expectations. But a big part of my motivation for writing not only it, but anything has always been interest. Not just my interest, but the interest of my potential readers. That said…

Are those readers–you–happy with ENDWORLD – A Novel? Is it fulfilling your expectations? Exceeding them? Falling short? I’m dying to know. Even if you’re still reading it, are you on-board with William, Maria and their adventure or are you jumping ship? Be bluntly honest with me, guys. My ego = A non-entity here. If you don’t want to do it publicly, please do it privately. See the “About Me” section of this site. You can contact me any of those ways. I promise I’ll get it.

The public version of ENDWORLD – A Novel will be three weeks old this Saturday. The private version has existed for much, much longer as those of you that know me and have been following me know. So far, this is a sampling of what I know people think about it:

“This book is a wonderfully written coming of age story about William and Maria’s journey from a machine controlled life. Their journey has many twists and turns. It is an exciting story! A must read!!!”

“Started reading this book the other day at the recommendation of a friend. So far, I’m really enjoying the book! I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

“In his freshman novel debut (at least to my knowledge) Frank has a superbly written & compelling novel. At the end of two chapters I was completely sucked in & have a hard time putting it down every night to go to bed. I can’t wait to see how it ends!” 

I’d like to thank the people that published those reviews (one on Barnes and Noble and two on Goodreads), as well as those of you that have given me generally positive feedback in other ways (on the phone, via DM, via Facebook, Twitter et al). I haven’t heard “it sucks” once and that, for me, is an epic win. That’s not to say that someone, somewhere isn’t reading it right now and thinking that. Believe it or not? If that person is reading this right now, I want to hear from you. I need to. Again, my ego = A non-entity. Publicly or privately, get in touch with me and let me know. I promise that I’ll do everything in my power to explain either A.) What I was thinking or B.) How I’m going to “fix” it moving forward.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Reviews = Visibility. And viability. No one wants to read something that their next door neighbor says is good. They want to see a sampling of people that feel the same way before they spend their hard earned money on it. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been soliciting reviews from book review sites ranging from the big–circulating, national newspapers–to the small–bloggers that will give you their honest impressions in exchange for a free copy. I’ve not yet tapped the “Big Boys” like Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews et al, though I did send an inquiry to the American Book Review. So far, the responses to my inquiries have been… timid, and by “timid” I mean “borderline non-existent.” So while I’m not putting those requests in the can and will continue to pursue them, I’m shifting my strategy slightly. To?

To this. Here’s what I’d like to do. Scratch that: Here’s what I’m going to do. I’d like to offer a free copy of ENDWORLD – A NOVEL (yes, I said “free”) to five people in exchange for an honest review. Those five people will be the first five people that either A.) Comment on this blog post, B.) Comment on my Facebook Author Page once I share this or C.) “Tweet” me once I Tweet this. Notice that the words “comment” and “‘tweet'” are in bold. That’s because “likes” don’t count (sorry, “likers.” You can still “like” all of the above but leave a comment. Even “hi” works). The only condition? Like I said (no pun intended), an honest review when you’re done. That’s it. No further strings attached. You can have your copy in either EPUB, MOBI or PDF. No print, please, at least not this round. I don’t have any spare print copies, right now. Maybe the next.

Interested? This offer is open to anyone that wants to take advantage of it. I repeat: Anyone. All you’ve got to do is post a review to one of the sites that my book is purchasable from (see the “Where to Buy” tab) when you finish it. An honest review. Don’t just tell me the book rocks because I gave you a free copy. I trust that what I wrote is viable and can stand up to a critique (though I may end up regretting that later). FYI, though: I’m going to repeat this offer in a separate Tweet and a separate Facebook post a bit later tonight for the people that don’t feel like reading my ramblings. But I’m going to give my followers here first dibs. And on Random Musings. I’m going to re-blog this over there.

Ready? Set? Go. My offer is now on the table. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Take care.

F.

Advertisements

One response to “Of Offers, Reviews and the Problem with Sequels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s